How to Study

This is going to be a very basic guide on what personally works for me- and I’m going to jump right into it! I’ll also make some advice on whether you should listen to music, or write vs type your notes. I can’t make any really authorised suggestions, because I’m still sitting the HSC, but so far I’m doing amazingly. OK. So, let me begin!

“Studying”

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First thing’s first, you’re never just “studying”. You are doing a very specific thing- whether this is writing an essay plan for Discovery or writing notes for a subheading of a Modern History syllabus. Write these down.

An easy way to figure out what to do is just pick out a massive chunk of a syllabus and break your way down. Look at the “students learn how to”, and work on those, or just continue making notes on the content. For subjects like English, the rubric makes it slightly easier. Start writing essay questions based on them. (e.g. Discovery can be confronting and provocative), or make an analysis of your core texts and related ones.

Work in 50 minute blocks

Before sitting down, make sure you will be in a space where you won’t be disturbed for a golden  50 minutes. Put your phone on aeroplane mode, close your bedroom door, act like a crazed psycho-maniac that people wish to stay away from: whatever works (cause no harm please)

In this time you’ll be able to complete the very, very specific tasks which you have assigned yourself.

So try and be realistic with the tasks you want to achieve within the time frame. If you don’t complete something, just move it to the next study block.

Then relax…for 10 minutes

After this period of focused work- take a ten minute break! Jump around, check your phones or do some break-dancing; whatever gets you to temporarily zone out. After say 2-3 hours of study blocks: you can take a longer break, or really just call it a day if you like. A productive one at that.

Pomodoro Apps 

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Tomato not necessary, though a bright style-statement, and also highly nutritious.

So, the technique above as is called the Pomodoro technique! There are plenty of apps for Android (my favorite is the Pomodoro Challenge, you literally get harassed at to do work by the virtual man boss, and you can rank up + track the total time you spend studying so it’s great), and for Apple you can try this.

And, I didn’t forget those on Windows, bless my heart (in a nice, non-Southern way).

Adjusting study times 

The default time to study in one go is actually for 25 minutes with these apps, and it’s up to you to adjust to how you work- but 25 minutes is a relatively short amount of time and it’s too difficult to actually get into the zone and actually absorb what you’re doing. Taking breaks too often can be very jarring.

However, if you struggle with concentration or work better in short bursts: feel totally free to do whatever works for you, or maybe work your way up if you can. Just keep your breaks shorter (5 minutes)

Personally  I actually struggle with forcing myself to get onto a break, but breaks are VERY important. If you’re overworking yourself to the brink of exhaustion and HSC-induced death, you’re going to have a bad time. Namely, this time is basically wasted and you would actually be better off relaxing and doing the procrastination item of your choice.

Note-taking: to type or write? 

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Some people wonder whether handwritten notes or digital is best- and I’d say that for your notes do that all on your laptop/computer where you can. Handwriting takes up the time where you could actually be revising for exams instead. The only exception is with creative/technical subjects- like maths, visual arts etc. where it would be rather painful.

When do you start hand-writing? In the last 2-3 weeks before assessments, trials, or HSC, when you focus entirely on just revising. This is when you start doing past papers/essays/questions and getting feedback for those if you can- making sure that you also pay attention to weak areas that you haven’t addressed yet.

Writing notes at this stage, is pointless because you probably won’t be lucky enough to be able to regurgitate pages of notes for the marks that you want.

Once again however, some people remember better with writing down notes , and some people study by re-writing their notes over and over until it sinks in. Whatever works for you, go for it.

Reflect on your past exams/assessments

This is really the only way to figure out what works for you. Remember, unless you are truly slacking off day after day, you are probably thinking that you’re working hard. Whenever we get bad exam results, we tend to think that we didn’t work hard enough and as such- we add even more hours.

Usually the case is that you’re not studying SMART enough. This is a nifty example:

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Smart workers winning, since a heck-ova lotta years BC (hair does seem ridiculously glamorous at a time where no shampoo existed)

After doing an exam and seeing your results- it’s much easier to see how effective your study techniques were. Write down how you actually studied, and the results that gave you. How much time did you actually spend on exam preparation compared to writing notes? When did you start preparing? There’s a massive difference as I mentioned earlier.

Obviously also make a note of what mistakes you actually made, and mark those in your syllabus to plug in those gaps of knowledge- or maybe it was a careless error (THE WORST) maybe try improve exam time-management so you can get some valuable editing and proof-checking time.

Write these new insights and snippets somewhere- whether that be online or on paper.

This is great for your first round of assessments, because then you’ll have a better understanding of how to ace everything that follows! So, if you think you failed those- every cloud has a silver lining.

Where should you study?

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If you happen to know parks like this, please tell me where- I will move across oceans and mountains to live near somewhere like this.

Wherever you are able to focus. For some people, this may just be their home: at a living room, or their desk. Just make sure that it can be a quiet, productive retreat for you.

For those who really struggle with procrastination: head to your library, or maybe even to the park with your books and your paper. Again- phone on aeroplane mode (do not connect to public WI-FI). No distractions.

Note: if you’re having a creative rut- definitely take a walk in the park. Morning is best, when birds are aplenty and you have sunlight and crisp air to write out your new beautiful, wonderful ideas on a piece of paper- just let the ink run wild.

Should you listen to music? 

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For some people, music is great. I used to listen to music (yes with lyrics, it was so much funner) when doing all my study, but for some reason I just can’t do it anymore- it’s much harder to actually focus on your work.

Regardless, it’s probably better to listen to soft background ambiance like rain and thunder, or maybe even the productivity boosting sounds of coffee shops! (actually oddly soothing)

If you opt to study with music, make sure that it’s not a crutch in that you can ONLY concentrate with some tunes in the background.

To-do Lists? Try time-blocking your day as well 

To-do lists by themselves aren’t the greatest tool to study with. You need to make sure that you are actually assigning a time to when you think you can reasonably do something. Time-blocking seems like a painful thing to do, but it’s actually pretty awesome because of all the time you save.

That works out because you schedule a number of blocks (in my example: 1 hour- 50 minute study and 10 minute breaks where possible) for each day.

So this would be an example plan:

8-9: Write legal studies notes for Young Offenders from textbook
9-10: Find case studies, legislation, opinion reports for Young Offenders, add into notes.

10.10-11.10: Analyse related text for discovery based on English rubric. Find ideas + evidence (quotes) from books, link to core study- the Tempest.

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Loving lynx is a supporting lynx. No relation. I just really like lynxes

Of course, don’t make it so rigid that all hell breaks loose if something comes up and you have to abort mission and cry frantically into a pillow with guilt and stress (emotionally unhealthy)

In these holidays, I’ve been doing three hour blocks of “normal” study from 8-11 AM, which is ticking off items that I need to get done this summer, and then on most days an additional block where I solely do exam preparation. Past-papers, practice essays, quizzing yourself on your notes- all fair game. This way, you won’t have to go berserk in the lead up to exams, and do all-nighters.

Usually by noon, I’ll have the rest of the day off! Which is pretty sweet, because that’s like what- 10 hours?

Then- one day of the week, I do absolutely nothing related to school and just totally relax, go volunteering, or go out with friends! (Yes, I actually do have friends whom I love and cherish). Remember not to burn yourself out, especially these holidays. Plenty of fire to come, don’t get impatient, plenty of pain for all.(But with these tips hopefully it will be minimal)

If you feel like you just can’t keep going anymore, don’t push yourself to the point of resent and society-directed hatred (which ends in snark comments to family members) for making you do the HSC.  Just take a break.

Do whatever works for you, or at least give it a go.

Finalmente: check out these blogs!

  • Study Hacks: Literally the one-stop blog, run by the genius that is Cal Newton. Changed my study habits and attitudes COMPLETELY, and I may or may not have totally summarised and stolen a whole bunch of his methods in this post. Mind that most of his posts are tailored for college students- but you can still use those tips very well.
  • Art of Smart: Specifically for the HSC, it has some pretty sweet guides- both general and subject-specific.

If anyone has a question, please ask, or talk even if you disagree with some thing! I’m an aspiring debater and public speaker (in the shower).

HSC: what subjects should I do?

*for any foreign readers, HSC is the equivalent of SATs/GSCEs!*

Speaking as someone who never made the best decisions (or in day-day life honestly) in subjects for year 11 and year 12, I will try and stop that from happening to you.

This assumes that you want to get the most realistically high ATAR that you can, without beating yourself to death on any truly hated subject textbooks.If you plan to fly free after high school, then just follow step one and enjoy your last two years!

Otherwise, its a long, ill disguised rant read and you could probably just figure out the most important things with the bold headings!

One tip to just keep in mind- don’t listen to your parents.

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A deliciously inspiring image to get you into the mood

 

  1. Do what you love, and do well in. 

Ideally you should load up with anything under this category.

For any subjects you dislike (but don’t hate), but have always been good at it- I’d recommend just taking it up anyway. You only have to bear it for these two years anyway, then you’re truly free. Then, for cathartic reasons I’d recommend that you proceed to gather all your work for the topic and burn it with a track of manic laughter that you prepared earlier.

    2. Looking to the future- what do you want to do?

Courses like science, medicine (which is a beast of its own with the UMAT and whatnot) and engineering generally require pre-requisites.

While you could always do a degree in another subject and then transfer the following year, it would be a lot faster to get started day one- with freshly graduated high school students.

You don’t want to shoot yourself on the foot and seriously regret not doing something. It’ll make life a lot easier, but be warned- this doesn’t apply to any subject that ordinarily gives you hell, and that you don’t grasp. Not all careers are made for everyone.

This is not to say that you can’t struggle really hard with something- but you want to try keep the stress to a minimum. It’s just frustrating, and nobody wins. It’ll also eat time from your other subjects.

The best thing to do if you are still conflicted would be to take it up in year 11 and see how well you do,  because it’s true that junior high to senior is rather different. But generally in a harder way. Sorry.

3. Don’t know what to do in the future? Assume everything. 

Try and be well-rounded. This is most important in year 11, since you can’t just randomly pick up a subject afterwards. At least one science, one humanities, etc. Its likely that you’ll be able to drop it or switch it for something else later on once you actually sit an assessment.

Unless you know that you aspire to be the next humanities, or triple science god at your school of course.

4. Scaling 

It’s not true that scaling will destroy all your work if you do a subject like Business Studies, or Dance (AKA basically all creative and humanity subjects)

It’s not true that if you do Maths Extension 2, Physics, Chemistry and Economics and never so much as breathe in a drama hall that you’ll do well.

But it’s also not true that scaling doesn’t matter.

There’s only one tip. If you do a low-scaling subject,  then be prepared to ACE IT. Like, definitely a band 6. Even a hard-earned HSC mark of 90 can be iffy in the scaling.  (*laments at business studies results*)

The reason that scaling is so often hysterically screamed about is because for subjects like Maths Extension 2, you really only need to just be average. So if you’re good at those subjects, take ’em.

That said: those subjects are really, really hard. They’ll probably end up taking most of your study time, so be mindful of that.

5. Advanced vs Standard English 

English is compulsory, weep in joy (why) or lament . So the most important decision is probably between these two, since it’ll always factor into your HSC.

This goes back to number 4.

Scaling is pretty awful for Standard English, so you’d have to be at the TOP of your cohort to do as well as an average student in Advanced English.

Bear that in mind.

6. Consider your cohort

In the pursuit of band 6s, the ranking system will mean that unless you are the Dux, you will inevitably be affected by the performance of your school. You can use this site to work out a general guideline to what rank you should aim for.

If your rank is currently eons away from the number of people who typically get a band 6, it might be a good idea to try way harder (by evaluating in essence: the shit study strategies you use and how to fix those), or maybe to drop the subject.

Also, try not to be bitter about a low school ranking, I go to one that fluctuates between 3-5, and I can tell you that it will not guarantee you anything. In the end: it’s you. You will be working like a smart hardass the whole year, you will determine your own ranks in the end (easier at a school where everyone else is less motivated) and you will fill up those exam booklets with your blood, sweat, tears and maybe even something you learnt that year.

5. HSC: 10 vs 12 vs 14 units?

Do 10 units if you are confident that you will do well in your chosen subjects. There is no safety net, thus you will feel extra motivated to do well and work hard. On the plus, you will receive so much extra free time which will be spent on your other subjects (no wasting free periods, just don’t do it). Less exams is probably the best.

Do 12 units if you don’t like risks. This means you will have a safety net, but ideally- you really should be aiming to do well in all subjects. Nonetheless, disasters do happen. Bushfires, and earthquakes as well. Or maybe you don’t want to give up a subject. Remember, your time will be spread much more thinly, and that in the end- 2 units are going to be bunk anyway. However, it may save you stress if you royally screw something up.

I’d hope that most people don’t take the last option seriously (unless you’re doing accumulated subjects!)

6. To accumulate or not? 

If you can handle it, then do it. Always prioritise those HSC subjects: especially if you’re in year 1o (literally no other subject matters, apart from maths because content carries on).

There’s been a growing trend of state-rankers who have been accelerated, and that’s easy to explain because of so much extra time you can throw at it.

7. Considering whether to pick up that distance language course? 

Do you really want to? If you do- then apply. Apply. Even if you don’t succeed, you’ll feel better knowing that you did. This is from bitter experience. You’ll always have that niggling thought in the back of your head- “what if I just did it…[spanish]”. If you’re motivated, and study well independently- just try your little aspiring multi-lingual hearts out.

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For reference, I did accelerated Business Studies (2015), and am currently doing Legal Studies, Modern History, English Extension 1, Advanced English, History Extension and Maths (which I will fight tooth and nail to drop once term starts)

As you can see, someone decided to specialise in lots and lots of writing, and shut themselves out from the STEM world.

So shoot me up with any questions about those subjects or anything else! I’m planning to write more posts on study tips and habits later on!

A photo a day x 365

So, I’ve started a new project! While I do lack a lot of the skills that go into a good photo- with practice surely I’ll improve over time.

Without ado- these pictures below I believe are from point and shoot photography (with my trusty Nexus 5, I am too busy living the broke lifestyle to afford an actual camera)

This is sorta cheating, but I’m going to pretend that I took these since January 1st. I clearly have a lot to learn, so the following posts might sound really amateurish and ignorant. Bear with me.

Before I’d never really considered photography an art, until I finally really looked at the works of those who take their craft seriously. Its a lovely idea: taking a snapshot of time through human eyes- something which will likely never happen again. Deciding composition, subject, framing and lighting are just as comparable to working with more traditional media when trying to capture a specific mood or vision.

Photography however, can actually make an impact on this world- I recently learnt of the term activist photography. Memorable ones would probably not ones relating to the Kardashian brood, but I’m sure everyone can vividly remember the “napalm girl”. Those really do stick with you: a moment of suffering and fear captured forever.

I won’t be posting every single photo here I take of course, because that would be incredibly annoying and its likely that 99% of them would suck. Only my favourites from here on!

Please anyone, let me know if you have any tips for a beginner haha!

And if you are truly bored with nothing to do, why not try this as well? If you ever run out of inspiration, maybe even try themes- like going out to snap as many blue things as you can find- or even of street art!  Or, even the same tree, or flower but in different times of the year.

Within our world, there would truly be a near infinity of possible subjects to capture. Especially considering that almost everything is always in flux, some special, or even mundane moments of daily living will always be lost forever.

 

A black crane and the Six of Wands

This post will feature fish, by the way.

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Waffle pondering in his more healthier days

My last goldfish (Wafflecakes) passed in pretty horrible pain yesterday. We’ve taken away the fish tank now, after five years and it feels so strange to walk around the house without listening to the steady gushing water of the filter.

I’ve been known amongst my friends as the fish fanatic sometimes, and to some, goldfish seem like dull scaly creatures, but if you ever just owned one you would fall in love. Quiet, shy peaceful (or attention-demanding) animals they are, individuals are very, very different. There is also nothing calmer than watching them live their carefree lives, pondering on what is outside of their tank.

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The old gang- Burnie, Papa,  Amber and Sunshine Buttercup (I used to have names like Hermes though)

Of course I’ve made a lot of mistakes in fish-keeping. I’ve been at the very least, partially responsible for the untimely friends of many of my little finned friends, which although I was always aware of- never stopped wanting to keep buying more goldfish. And it was always just that continuous paradox. I literally loved my fish to death in the end. If you really care about something or someone, you wouldn’t want to hurt them, even in an irresponsibly uncareful and ill-informed way.

But now- on with the what the title of this post actually suggests. I drew a card to try and comfort myself. My sister had also folded a beautiful black origami crane, which I’d previously put into my Kemetic shrine- since it was the colour of hope and rebirth in Ancient Egypt. I thought it was also suitable for that reading.

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I drew only one card- the 6 of wands. I always instantly think of hope, fighting and conquering all the odds when I see this particular artwork. The butterfly rising, unscathed and unscarred (at least on the outside) from its blind scramble for light. Traditionally, the card is one of triumph and victory. It was strange to consider those meanings in regards to self-consolation for a pet’s death, but it still gave a little comfort. My fish didn’t win his battle, but in a way- him going to sleep was the most merciful thing that could have happened. A dark triumph of sorts.

For me, perhaps it was finally realising that you cannot love too deeply – for anything or anyone, if you cannot carry it through without hurting something. If something keeps dying under your eager hands, maybe it is time to let that go. Still, not an easy lesson- we are so often told that passion is one of the most amazing things we can experience in life, and that is true- but is it always good for us, and all involved? Is even a sad realisation a win or bloody prize of sorts?

Review of the Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans

I may be one or two years late on the uptake, but here she is, as the first time I laid eyes on her! (or him, or  I suppose tarot has no gender). This was my first tarot deck, and also- my first semi-professional review which doesn’t involve assorted excited yelling!

The cards come in a gorgeous box and ribbon- featuring the world as cover art.

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What’s inside? Judgement! A nice card for a review.

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welcome to the wild unknown tarot, you’ll find no wrongs or rights inside this box, only mirrors for reflection. open your mind, draw a card & have fun on your journey

The minimalism- whether it needs to be stark monochrome, or with a strategic dash of colours is what makes the artwork so stunning. The layers of meaning you get when everything is stripped bare is more than you’d imagine. Sometimes less is really more people.

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they look even better in real life!

A little personal background- when I was choosing my first tarot deck, I felt certain that I would pick the Shadowscapes Deck, by Stephanie Pui-man Law, since I loved her art. But by some happy chance I stumbled across the Wild Unknown, and these are one of the moments when you just know that it was meant to be, and so I began hunting for it online. Also, the Wild Unknown only features images of nature, and animals- no humans, which I liked.

I’d always wanted to get into Tarot, not as a fortune-telling tool but I think more for the thrill of just shuffling through these cards, and marvelling at the meaning behind it all. I’ve always been fond of the archetypes used in the tarot, stories and characters which appear throughout almost all of human literature and around the campfire. Plus, gorgeous artwork is always a bonus. The Wild Unknown is a deck which fulfills pretty much all of those criteria, and in the process stole my soul and became a horcrux.

Onto technicals!

Being my only physical tarot deck, I will say that the cardstock is firm, nice to hold, and I can put it under my pillow without being afraid of creasing it accidently. The cards are slightly large at a guess? But that was an added for me to be honest. These are good quality cards. I’ve read in other reviews that some cards were too flimsy or papery, but you’ll never think that with this deck- unless you happen to the child of Hulk.

Here’s the backing of these cards! Bit of an optical illusion.

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There’s also a cute info sheet with a general overview of the four suits, and the differences between the Major and Minor arcana. On the reverse side, there’s a some brief keywords for each card. It might not be enough for total junkies, but in most cases your own interpretation and knowledge should be fine.

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That being said, the symbolism of some cards (mainly Minor) are not always exactly clear and they may be confusing to grasp at first. However, for people who do not mind a little bit of intuition in their readings, or can remember the RWS system anyway- it ‘s not really a problem. For absolute beginners who have no idea of traditional symbolism (elements, animals etc), they may struggle with it, but honestly if you love these cards, go for it!

One important thing to also note- the court cards do not follow the regular RWS conventions although they essentially have the same meanings. Each suit has a Daughter (page), Son (knight), Mother (queen) and Father (king). Also, Strength is where Justice is, and vice versa.  Otherwise, there’s nothing radically different.

Onwards!

I’ve monogamously (not in that way though) used this deck for the past 1-2 years and it’s served me well for any type of reading. It is best for more deep contemplative thinking though, some of the cards can get very intense- there’s one with a buffalo gored through the eyes and body for instance. Hence my love for this deck only grows stronger.

Note to anyone who wants to buy this deck (do so), this edition has officially retired from printing as of last year! But worry not, Kim Krans has already released edition 2– which has changed the colour design of several cards, the box, the handy info sheet and the backing. Regardless, the essence of these cards remains the same, but you can find a great post describing the differences here (Little Red Tarot is also my most favourite blog, which you should check out if you haven’t already before!)

I’m very lucky that I actually found this on a relatively cheap Ebay deal, because this deck used to sell for around $40-50 online, especially for those poor souls who happen to not be American and must pay a fortune in shipping (me). But this deck is worth its weight in quality, artwork- and you can see the love and care that went into it.

So, if there are any specific questions or cards (if they’re your make or break) you’d like to see, just let me know in the comments!

Annndd- Exciting news! I will be also be finally receiving my second tarot deck in a week or so! I decided that I wanted to go with a deck with very clear RWS imagery so I could properly study it- and since I have a heavy dislike for the loud artwork of the original, I favoured the more mute colours and design of the Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot Deck in a Tin, of which I will write a timely review once it comes!

Linguistic problems to bash your brain with

So the competition itself might not be in everyone’s age bracket – but the Computational and Linguistics Olympiad: held in various countries for high school students has some really interesting problems that anyone with an interest in language can solve, and you only need to be fluent in English! If anything, its good to always keep your mind on its figurative toes.

Take a peek and give these a go!

Early problems aren’t much of an challenge, but with the last questions this is where your brain feels like its being beaten and battered into submission – inevitably becoming a delicious organic pink pastry (no crumbles).

Or perhaps just to me. In any case, I would really appreciate if someone could figure out and explain the one featuring Etruscan, a die, and six translations. I’ve only managed to work out what 3 and 4 are.

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You can find other sets of problems here.

And I have a new question for science, why do we get headaches when we concentrate too hard on something? Is it just overworking our brain’s cognitive and other “insert anatomy here”? What happens to our neurons: are they making new connections in the process or does that only happen  when we’re asleep?

Welp, I’m gonna need an ice-pack now.

A song to dream with

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Humanity has invented all sorts of amazing and wondrous creations over our 4 million years: but the one constant which has been around since prehistory: is singing (I would love to hear a caveman choir). Truth be told I don’t even understand how the actual physical act of it works- how the voice suddenly joins with that timeless tapestry of existence.

Music is that one thing that can make you weep in weirdly unadulterated happiness, or melancholy- when it raises a long forgotten memory or even an experience you’ll never even have, but it transports you the same way reading a great book does. Quiet chills, the sudden golden warmth which turns heartbeats to melody- these are something you seek like adrenaline. 

To get right to it: Sleeping at Last is the one-man band which I will always love. Ryan O’Neal is simply blessed with an amazing voice, and his songs are those that you just want the entire world to hear: even for one small moment. If you do love them, please also support him if you can.

Wear a set of headphones and retreat somewhere quiet. Maybe even close your eyes, and just listen. Dream. Dream of somewhere peaceful where the stars seem to shine a little brighter. But remember the places and people in your life that are far more beautiful and irreplaceable than anything else the Universe can craft.

Then breathe.

Happy New Years! And what not to say to a marriage proposal…

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“Okay”

“Yep”

“Sure”

Inspired by the Office’s season 4 finale…(which was amazing , and also the Universe saw it fit to time the human conception of NYE with my viewing of an episode with fireworks!)

So Michael Scott isn’t always the brightest but somehow when it comes to relationships he is just the worst. BUT HOLLY IS SO CUTE and they are actually perfect for each other! And if she brings the best out of Michael on a slightly dishonest basis, so be it!

And I still don’t really understand what Jan really saw in Michael…I mean does anyone else remember Jan in season 1-2? The absolute female Anti-Michael.

GOODBYE TOBY I also sing because while I sympathised with him against Michael’s total dickery and corporate bullying, he just HIT the creeper level this season.  I’m sure there are places to put your hands that aren’t on a practically engaged girl’s knees…I gotta say  though that Jim has amazing self-restraint (that thousand-yard stare was highly amusing). He started out so fab though…he actually looked a bit like Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino!!!) from Supernatural so I was somewhat fond of him.

And that closing scene…I feel you Phyllis (why are your eyes so blue)…we’re gonna have to acquire some industry grade bleach and take shots.

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SO I HOPE YOU ALL HAD A LOVELY YEAR!
In this last hour:say everything you wanted to say, or do- like suddenly decide to worship Egyptian God(s), treat yourself on a midnight shopping spree or WHATEVER! 2015 ain’t ever coming back baby.

I had an interesting year: made some rather disheartening discoveries about friendships (people aren’t as perfect or nice as you think they are), watched some awesome new  TV shows (The Office, Hannibal, and Game of Thrones), quit my first job (selling fried chicken girls and boys),  switched religions, listened the best music in all my life, learnt how to actually “study”, started to go out to the park and nature more regularly, started the final hurdle of high school ever, decided on a future career for now, learnt that I was going to move to Melbourne next year and ADOPT A DOG and of course- started this blog!

Ah, and a New Years Resolution?

A small sample:

-Be balanced (follow  in Ma’at)
-Kick the HSC in the butt and come out swinging’
-Blog at least 5x weekly and bring this newborn to its 1st birthday!

A tip on NYRs, don’t make it a specific goal: like I’m gonna lose 15 kg- make it something you can actually do in the NOW- like become the ultimate interpretative dance machine at least once per day! (I highly recommend).

See ya topside in 2016!

Nancy

Hello Kemeticism!

 

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So, with a turn around hour of less than 60 minutes I have discovered Kemeticism (God I feel so afraid of accidentally making Muppet references)

It makes sense. I’ve always loved Egyptian mythology,  especially its pantheon. The aspects of symbolism are still there, it’s just focused entirely on one ancient culture,  and I feel much more structure now with what I practice which was maybe what the Hierophant was suggesting.

So,  the images above are of my shrine,  which I cobbled together in a bit, (lack of beautiful ornate figures owing to my nonexistent income). I took off the incense bottle though because it burnt a couple thousand cells from my nose…

Obviously I’m excited to “start talking” to these deities, but I need to be patient. However,  I excel at imaginary friends. A few years ago I’d have a green tree snake called Sari in my head,  who would often give me great advice, but more usually snark commentary…anyway that’s a story for another time.

So, I still have plenty of reading! I will be writing more on what Kemeticism is exactly in later posts. (what do you mean of course there’s no imbalance of the topics I write about… )

And here’s hoping my deity shows up soon,  I strongly suspect that it’s Thoth owing to me being unable to shake off the idea of time. I also am the fan of the underdog,  the hated upon Ibis on school grounds. (they are so endearing OK) And I’m definitely what you would call a nerd, and considering Thoth’s impressive educational credentials (father of science, writing, astronomy etc.) it’s a great match! Plus he used to be associated with the moon, which makes Thoth a bona fide winner since a heckuva lot of years BC…(I see an imminent need for research!)

So I can now announce that I’ve joined a new religion for 2015! In the very last few hours actually. Wow,  I can now add a new tag.

Back to the Hierophant

New Year is fast looming, and in these final hours of dusk- the ending of 2015 I have made a very sudden reversion to my old beliefs.

When I was younger – I had a “faith” which gave me a type of inner peace so to say: Wicca which does receive quite a bit of scornful laughter or derision- based on stereotypes and so fourth.

What I do is to draw on the basic concepts of Wicca. I “honour” a patron and matron deity, but I do not believe in their physical existence in any plane. I respect what they represent, in a sense- and I seek to find that in myself.

So, what drew me to Wicca was the richness of its symbolism, that it found in the tides of the ocean, the moon’s phases, the ancient minerals and animals of bird, scale, fur and wing which fill our world- even the small moment of content which lighting a specifically coloured candle gave you. I’d say it was like an addiction, but with less substance abuse.

But-midway through year 8 I decided that I would stop. I didn’t like all this ‘hipster BS’ anymore, and I played into those stereotypes. I decided I would just be a plain and simple atheist, as I technically WAS.

Then…where is this suddenly coming from?

Yesterday I did a tarot reading for myself called the Cicada Spread. I will just discuss the two most important cards.
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First, it made me ask myself, what was I repressing?

I drew the Hierophant.

Typically, I dislike this card. It just gives me negative connotations of corrupt authority, extreme conservatism, and the long outdated social traditions which still sadly rule some communities. So, disgruntled me continued the reading, already sure that I would just dismiss it.

The next card clarifies what I needed to do to help bring this energy back.

The Devil.

Slightly confusing at first, but the Devil is of course one of negativity. I finally began to realise that it was telling me that I was unnecessarily demonizing the teachings and lessons of the Hierophant. After all, is that not a card of spiritual guidance (arguably in the more traditional religions)? Of mentorship, the imparting of experience from wiser heads to younger ones? Does Wicca itself not fit into this mould? These “patron deities”, are they not just carefully constructed representations of what we seek for ourselves- the channelling of the universal paradigms that humanity as admired over millennia? The golden warmth of the Sun, the ivory wisdom of the Moon,  the mystery which Death holds alone? All just abstract concepts that humanity has built into something spiritual and soul-searching.

I suddenly realised that I missed having those beliefs. It was comforting, knowing that these ‘deities’ were besides you, soothing rhymes of the invocations when you needed to draw on their energy and strength. So, I told myself- I am returning to that happiness. Back to the lessons of the Hierophant, a card I have long neglected and shunned.

And if these are the same feelings that other religious groups share, then that is a thing to be celebrated indeed.

The political and social dimensions of a religion or spiritual practice however, that is for another slightly more angry post and time.